Parents of LGBTQ+ Youth

It’s impossible to be a parent and not have expectations about your child’s future. Shifts in your child’s sexual orientation or gender identity can be especially jarring because they disrupt so many of the assumptions that organize your relationship with your child and your own identity as a parent.

Gender and gendered romantic relationships carry foundational expectations in any culture that tend to be invisible, taken for granted, until they are challenged. Your perception of your child’s gender or orientation may have previously provided you with a felt-sense of appropriateness in decisions about things like sleepovers, curfews and household expectations. In terms of your own identity as a parent, the role expectations between father/daughter dyads are different than father/son dyads, for example, and the same is true for mothers and their children. You may also cherish a privileged relationship with your same-sex children, a sense of shared experience that you hoped would transcend even the bonds they would form with any future opposite-sex romantic partners. All the givens of life can seem to evaporate suddenly, leaving you uncertain where to find guidance for yourself, let alone for your children.

It can feel like you are losing your child, but they’re still there, and they need you. It can be confusing. On a deeper level, you may be losing a piece of your own identity as the mother or father of a daughter or son, your cherished hopes for your child’s future relationships and a life course for your child that may have looked smooth and predictable before, but now is full of unknowns. If your religion is less than affirming of LGBTQ identities, you may feel torn at a very deep level between your religious beliefs, your community, your extended family and your child. You may be struggling with your own sense that there is something wrong or unnatural about all this, something foreign and frightening. Many parents struggle with such feelings even when they truly long to be there for their child, even when they can see the distance and hurt that their reactions evoke.

Parents often need a place to get information, vent their concerns, wrestle with prejudice, mourn their previous expectations, and explore how this will affect relationships with extended family. The adjustment process is different for everyone, and one that is often done best in a context where your reactions aren’t going to negatively impact your child and where you will not be judged. A space where you can regroup and refocus on loving your child the best ways you know how.

I can help build that for you and for your family. I often see parents and youth separately for a while to give everyone a safe place to vent and not have to be so careful about expressing themselves. Once some of the intensity goes down, I can help you and your child get through difficult conversations with caring and respect for one another. I work with families as a whole, as well. Sometimes siblings are struggling, on the other hand, they can also be amazing role models for other family members, and usually a bit of both.

Together we can help reduce tension and get things at home back on track.

 



1505 Fell Street #2,
Victoria, BC V8R 4V9

danelle@outsidetheboxcounselling.ca
(778) 678-2293


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